Sunday, 24 July 2011

The boots on the other foot

When Matt Smith returned as The Doctor in A Christmas Carol, he did so in a totally revamped costume.

Like Peter Davison had back in season 21, it looked unchanged to the casual observer, but every single piece of his costume was different, with only the braces the same!

Gone were the distinctive Paul Smith PS shirts; the off-the-peg vintage Harris Tweed; was no more; and the unique All Saints Layer Boots were well and truly left at the door.

Their replacements, however, have been something of a double edged sword. Instead of highly distinctive - and thus identifiable - items from high street brands, we have either bespoke made such as the Shetland Tweed jacket; or such plain, bland items that almost any similar alternative would do, such as the plain blue shirt.

The new boots are no exception as they are suitably generic to be completely unattributable. Many fans have tried to find the boots, and have had reasonable success in finding alternatives that tick enough boxes to make them more than acceptable.

I have personally found a cracking good image of the new boots, and would put it forward as definitive reference material to work from.

It was taken on the Utah location shoot, and clearly shows the line of fret-worked holes across the bridge of the boot, the full height of the ankle and the number of pairs of eyelet holes: 12.

There was, I think, a slight red-herring last October, when Matt was interviewed for ES Magazine. In the article it was revealed he was wearing a pair of Russell & Bromley boots, the same as those being worn by The Doctor (see below).

As soon as the piece was published a number of people searched for these fabled boots, but nothing was found.

In the absence of a known match, several suggestions have been made as to where the boots did come from, and some alternatives that could be worn as a second-best.

No claim is made to the screen-usage of any of these boots, but here is a list of recommendations.

Paul Smith - Cesar Boots
At £290 these are distinctly at the upper end of the market!
Good if you want to stick with the labels from Season Five.

Top Man - Vintage Look Boots
I know a lot of people liked these boots - I even bought a pair!
They weren’t quite right, but had a lot going for them: at £70 they were a lot more affordable, and just before they went out of stock were cut to half-price.

Lloyd Boots?
Someone suggested these boots, but I cannot find a website that sells them or stocks them.

They may not have the right number of eyelets, but they do have a good bridge across the toe.

If you have a link, let me know.

All Saints - Military Boots
If you want to be loyal to last year’s label, you could always get a pair of the All Saints Military Boots.
These are now out of stock, but I have seen a number of pairs freely available on eBay, so they are still obtainable.

Macy’s - Stacy Adams, Madison Boots
Although it is highly doubtful the boots were purchased in the US, these boots on the Macy’s website are pretty darn good.

They have the perforated detail across the toe; 10 eyelets (though the top 4 are hooks); and if you wanted, come in a choice of 4 colours including a very dapper white.

To be fair, the photo above doesn’t show the boots to their best. The image (see left) shows them better, and if you compare to the reference picture are pretty good.
They are just a bit too shiny for my liking, though the overall look is very good and gets a vote from me!


  1. Some of these are a bit too pricy for me. I'd expect to be finding the correct ones if I was spending almost 300 on them!

    Some nice choices though regardless of price.

    One thing I will say about the shiny negative of the last pair;
    They could easily be weathered and/or would lose their shine with wear/age anyway.

  2. Matt said in an interview in DWM 430 that he'd "just had a pair of his (the doctor's) boots from the new series made for me, to wear in my personal life", and that he'd "looked around the shops, can't get anything like them". Sounds like they're a custom job by the BBC.

  3. I'm looking at vintage paratrooper boots, which usually have 12 eyelets and a punched-cap toe. While I haven't found a pair in my size on Ebay yet, I've seen some of them one size up from mine as low as 25 dollars (including shipping).

  4. Hey Steve, have you seen this? This guy seems to have tracked down the people who made the new boots: